One of the most sought characteristics across diverse professions is adaptability. It’s one key for success in business & innovation. It’s an essential in survivor training.

Creatively adapting tools, methods, concepts and problem solving can become an efficient process. Experts say those who thrive, spend less energy and precious time debating lost effort, instead they quickly move forward focusing on new solutions.

Handy in relationships, changing occupation or locations, adaptability has a place in the arts, too.

“I am trying impressionist painting, but cannot break free of the detail work I am used to”, a medical illustrator asked. Did she wear reading glasses? I asked. “Yes”, she said. I promptly suggested she remove them while painting. “You won’t focus on detail if you cannot see it.” I said.

Another artist wanted solutions for her ‘tight wrist’ issues, desiring elongated brushstrokes. I suggested she wear cumbersome mitts while painting.

Creative techniques & tool possibilities are endless. Why wouldn’t a kitchen spatula be awesome for applying paint? Having an open mind for exploration avoids limitation.

A bronze sculptor may switch to watercolour because the physical demands are too great, not because of lack of stimuli. I see this often in fine arts. The general public may be led to believe the artist becomes bored within their genre, but it’s often not the case. The reason may be health, material access related, or lack of demand in their genre.

Being honest about self- motivation is an asset to professional happiness.

Her amazing educator inspired her to be a teacher, only to discover, she disliked teaching. Eventually, she went back to school to be a doctor. “I was focused on who, not what, inspired me. I am late in life starting my medical practice, but I couldn’t be happier.” She said.

Curiosity sparks motivation to explore ideas without being shackled by fear of failure.

“Always great to dabble outside of the comfort zone a bit. I broke a string on my Martin (guitar) and haven’t bothered replacing it for the past month because it’s been fun to try and work around it.” my nephew reported.

We observe, problem solve, communicate, perceive, and explore under the influence of creative thought.

Adapting to change in life eases stress, inspires growth, and new vision.

Leaving an art career returning to a 9-5’er may be seen as failure. The pressure of working art full time can change how a creator feels about art. It may no longer be fun or rewarding becoming enormously stressful. In truth, instead of failure, one discovers contentment in this decision.

Our culture demands pursue passions at all cost. Knock relentlessly at the closed door until it opens.

Pounding bleeding fists focused on the closed door before us, we are blind to the open one behind us, or the one down the hall worth exploring.

Life is very fluid, when we adapt to change it will feel flowing like a river, rather than swimming against the current.

“So shall we come to look at the world with new eyes”. Ralph Waldo Emerson


Note: Training with the Search & Rescue unit was extensive & diverse. During one large- scale mock disaster, our team was divided & paired with other departments. My ‘new’ team included members of the coast guard, armed forces & police.

My skills were applied to shoring passages in a caved in cellar, site recon and rescue, using many materials found onsite.

Among the many lessons in the exercise was learning teamwork with unfamiliar people with varying protocol.

Rescue unit follow up concluded with our Captain’s address.

“When disaster happens, chances are you won’t see one another. You may be commuting to work, or asleep in your beds. You may not have access to the ‘house’ (our Unit’s base). You will have to be leaders in your own neighborhoods. You will have to adapt. Your community will be counting on you.”


All new work is available for purchase, please email me for details

“Bright Sun” 5ft x3ft – viewed best in warm light.

“Roses” 14×18 – a FIRST for me! :0)


“I just want to give him a hug, “the young woman expressed to her companion, while gazing at Van Gogh’s” Starry Night over the Rhone at Arles.” at the AGO.

 “A life of utter anguish. It’s all so very sad. ” she said.

“She is focused on life outside the art, not the life within it,” I thought, as I pondered the same painting.

I saw a life connected to something powerfully great. Bold brushstrokes shimmering unburdened with motion and love. It’s a painting filled with remarkable hope. Resilience, framed not in denial of shadows, but focused on light.

The early landscape impressionists were brilliant at grasping and reflecting humanity’s deep connection to nature. The work of Harris, Thomson, Monet, Carr, eliminates noise and tunes into nature spirit that beckons and unites us all.

They painted during times of illness and grief. Monet painted the famous Water-lily series during a ravaging war. He remained driven to capture fleeting moments of light in his garden, amid, volunteering to help injured soldiers down the road. A man in his 80’s with failing eyesight and a war literally on his doorstep? Who are those ‘fleeting moments in light’ intended for I wonder?

Monet “speculated his paintings might calm strained nerves and offer “an Asylum of peaceful meditation.” (Ross King: Mad Enchantment)

That’s what masterful art does, it illuminates what can be for the viewer. It beckons one to stand at the open door of your own story. To wander boldly in, stay true to your path, celebrate life’s vibrant colour, weather storms and climb mountains. To be brave, seek and share the light.


Van Gogh, unaccepted by his peers was ridiculed by art critics. He sold only one painting in his lifetime. Talk about anguish, and yet, his resilience in art, with intent of purpose, shines over a century later.

“Theo I am so happy with my paintbox”.

In 1888, ( the year Starry Night over the Rhone at Arles was painted) Van Gogh wrote a personal letter in which he described “a great starlit vault of heaven…one can only call God.”

“People discuss my art and pretend to understand as if it were necessary to understand, when it’s simply necessary to love. ”– Claude Monet


It’s the time of year I tally inventory and see what needs attention. It’s a flurry of activity!  Paintings are lovingly lined up waiting to begin their journey with you. :0)

Most new work are painted entirely with sponges, seen below.

Posted Above: Tundra Valley, Moonlight and Island are all  14×18 oil on canvas

Studio showing sizes & new work ( new small paintings on table at back)

Below: both 8×10 oil on canvas – yet to be titled.

Email to purchase or for details.

Communing with Nature

After greeting each other in Northern Tutchone, last month I sought advice from family friend, Mr. Silverfox.

First Nation drumming relays the heartbeat of Mother Nature and all people. I wondered about incorporating drum music during a presentation on heightened experiences in nature.

“Is it appropriate for me to include drumming, does the music vary among tribes?” I asked.

He described the beat doesn’t change among tribes so much as the drum itself. “The skin,” he said, “defines tone, and where the tribe originates”. (Ie: Caribou= Northern tribes)

“You are making it too complicated,” he said. “Just like white man drumming, which is more complicated than ours. I will teach you.”

Ever the patient educator, hands on laps, we tapped the universal beat he spoke of.

Tone impacts conversation in all languages. With human conversations becoming more electronic, personal engagement is lost, and tone can be easily misinterpreted. In the words of Mr. Silverfox, it can be complicated.

What is the origin of our message? are we paying attention & listening?

How does tone affect communing with nature? The very description of commune relays depth of intensity :

Communing definition, to converse or talk together, usually with profound intensity, intimacy, etc.; interchange thoughts or feelings.

There are so many ways to explore the natural outdoors, alone or with others. It may help to reaffirm your purpose the next time you wander in the woods, to reap the benefits of nature. What is your intention? How will you achieve this?

Each experience has a ‘tone’, powerfully unique from others.

We can be inspired, infused with energy, distracted, or soothed, depending on activity and the company we may keep.

Walking with a friend, I focus on our conversation. Nature is the backdrop, which may set the ‘tone’ of our discussion. Often people feel more comfortable discussing difficult subjects in nature.

Cycling and running companions ask if I absorb the landscape we pass to paint. Thou I am witnessing beauty and feeling joyful, my focus is our activity and my companions.

It’s the solo adventures that fuel the work, and reveal a unique ‘tone’ of experience.

Solo explorations can be a window to sanctuary, reflection, and discovery. A personal conversation with nature, is communing in truth. It’s such a gift! If it’s available for you to wander solo, I highly recommend it.

Alone we can be attuned to whispers of the wind and feel our heartbeats merging with Mother Earth.

May your wanderings be healthy, safe, soul enriching, and remain in loving kindness.


All work above is available for purchase, email me for details

“Tundra” available at Hambleton Galleries,

~ Special thanks to Mr. Silverfox, :0)

Inner Peace

A scene in the sitcom “Friends” involves the actor character Joey, speaking about why he cries easily. “I am an Artist. My feelings are always close to the surface.”

Thou the scene is delivered in humour, his character has a point.

Most Artists are sensitive & empathetic.

Therefore, I wasn’t surprised to hear,

“How to paint with peace when the world may feel anything but?”

Short answer: Recognizing it’s even more important to do so motivates the brush.

Reflecting peace despite circumstance is powerful.

Artists, in their connectedness can choose to be a conduit.

Whatever your medium or field of work, leaving a legacy that emulates joy, motivates and reflects peace inspires humanity.

In endurance sport, grit complements training, it doesn’t replace it.

The more we ‘train’, consciously infusing peace daily, our ability to adapt in times of stress increases. Like a muscle, we build our internal ‘peace’ bank.

Simple ways to increase daily peace:

  • What can you do to help the situation? Gain knowledge & problem solve? Be of service? offer expertise? contribute? Acting in loving kindness, inspiring people, creating beauty for the world has a ripple effect.
  • Discover nature daily. Engaging in Nature improves health & peace of mind. Awaken all your senses, what do you smell, hear, see, feel?
  • Have a ‘time out’ from News & electronics. “Connected” 24/7 can be emotionally overwhelming, hard on eyesight & breathing. Heads tipped in continuous ‘i-posture’ cuts off a portion of our air supply.
  • Adapt healthy posture & nutrition. Exercise. Practice daily mindfulness, meditation, & deep breathing.
  • Create a gratitude list. Write an additional item thru the day, morning, noon, and evening.
  • Listen to peaceful music, or watch an inspiring film.“The Canoe” has both. This captivating film (click here ) by Goh Iromoto beautifully expresses connection to nature thru paddling in a collection of stories. “The Explorers” features Joanie & Gary McGuffin,

I spent a month paddling with the McGuffin’s on expedition in the boreal forest.

Goh captures their passionate sincerity for engaging in and protecting wilderness. Artists in their own right, they wholeheartedly contribute to the health and peacefulness of our planet.

Recognizing peace as a choice is freeing. This act can ignite hope & illuminate possibility. May peace be with you.


Joanie to Dawn in the boreal forest, ”Do you notice when it’s overcast, the lichen glows with light? It’s the only time the lichen shines that special glow.”

 lichen on gray day in boreal~ plein air.

It was an absolute thrill to reunite with the McGuffin ladies this spring, a family that continues to inspire & remain close to my heart.

Joanie & Sila McGuffin.

New Work!

I am excited to share this new work, expressing continuously developing style and colour palette. The new tiny 6×6 inch canvas’s are meant to evoke light, pattern  of landscape infused with light. Email me for purchase/ collection details on all  work.


Sharing Manitou’s Breath

Inspiration may whisper on butterfly wings, or roar in a lightening bolt’s flash.

What feeds the painting fuels the artist; memories, emotion, experience, motion, inspirational hero’s, daybreak, soft sand underfoot, dust storms and salt water.

Manitou’s sculpted valley radiates the light of Turner with the afternoon sun. You feel awash in it’s peace glow.

Bathing in the salty fresh water, I thought of early generations visiting Manitou’s healing shores.

It’s a land that compels, and beckons with ancient legend.

Manitou’s actual salt & sand mix with pigment in this new work, “Manitou’s Breath” The paintings, as always, are meant to find their way to you, to light not just your screens, but your lives. Enjoy.

~Manitou’s healing history:

“Dan Kennedy, an Assiniboine on the Montmartre reserve tells of the legend. It goes something like this: “In 1837 there was a small pox epidemic. When the Indians were fleeing from the plains to try to get away from the scourge, they passed the site of Lake Manitou. When two young men in the group were unable to go any farther, a small tent was erected in which they could spend their remaining days. After the rest of the tribe had departed, the young men were so consumed by thirst that they crawled to the shore of the nearby lake, and as well as drinking from Lake Manitou, they immersed themselves in the water. Apparently it cooled their fever, and they spent the majority of the next few days bathing themselves on the beach. Within a few days they were recovered, and were able to take up the trail of their party. It was from this that the Indians have come to regard the waters of Lake Manitou as having great therapeutic value.”

Medicine men called the lake “Manitou” because it means God to them, believing that it came from the Great Spirit. It became known as the “Lake of the Healing Waters,” or “the Lake of the Good Spirit.”

Photos Above

  • Manitou- photo- Dawn Banning
  • Detail photos of new work “Manitou’s breath”
  •  New “Manitou’s Breath”  shown in studio light and natural light , 5feet x 3feet oil on wide profile canvas $4700.oo

Artistic Infusion at Work

“It isn’t common public knowledge the innovative Boeing ringlets were first inspired by a sculpture,” an engineer said over dinner last night.

The design has significant environmental appeal for fuel reduction. It can be applied to several platforms saving aviation companies millions.

I wonder if Boeing headquarters has since introduced a sculpture gallery?

We can encourage people to be innovative thinkers with learning & working environments reflecting this vision.

Interactive creative spaces merging art, science, nature, engineering, and technology are fertile ground for multi solution problem solving.

“To innovate, scientists and engineers find inspiration in the arts” by Reena Jana reads:In a workshop on creating compelling data visualizations, the New York Times‘ artist-in-residence, Jer Thorp, encouraged attendees to simply “hire an artist if you have a novel problem.” That’s because “Artists are trained to face novel problems,” Thorp said. And then he added, “Software engineers are not.” And to formalize the current wave of such cross-disciplinary innovation, the organizers of PopTech unveiled a new fellowship in partnership with the Rockefeller Foundation that would mix artists with businesspeople, scientists, and social innovators to “facilitate unconventional collaboration,”

Supporting the arts isn’t a one-sided or charitable act. Beyond esthetics, art can improve lives, spark innovation, speed healing, improve concentration, higher levels of social tolerance, induce calm and increase productivity.

Forbes reviews a compelling study on the impact of art in the workplace, stating, The notion that art in the workplace is merely decorative was dispelled in a survey of more than 800 employees working for 32 companies throughout the U.S. that have workplace art collections. The survey, a collaboration of the Business Committee for the Arts and the International Association for Professional Art Advisors drew responses from firms ranging from food distributors to law firms that house workplace collections. It found that art in the workplace helps businesses address key challenges such as reducing stress (78% agree), increasing creativity (64% agreed) and encouraging expression of opinions (77% agreed).


A physiotherapist after recently displaying original work said, “My focus is better, and the patients are relaxed. A calm patient means they more receptive to treatment, and quicker healing. It isn’t just beautiful, it makes good business & practice sense.”

A corporate exec shares thoughts of increased collaboration and company unity. “The work energizes us and gives our company a sense of pride when clients feel this way too.”

Jamie Livingstone of ArtIQ writes: Art impacts the bottom line, engages staff and represents company values.

Let’s deliver art support out of the gala shadows to public spaces, offices, tech centers, sanctuaries, schools, hospitals and homes.

Infusing art in our daily lives can inspire creative innovation, healthy social and productive work environments, concrete problem solving, and the wonder of possibility.


For further reading, click highlighted links in post. Also, 10 useful ways art can change your life – click here.


Artistry development & Maneli Jamal

“How do you know when a song is complete?” a fan asked renowned phenomenal guitarist Maneli Jamal.

“Well,” he responded thoughtfully, “They often continue to evolve. At some point I stop and release it. Right Dawn? It must be this way with painting?

Think of this aspect of creative process as developing a garden bed over time, switching plants out, adding new, changing colour, and texture, adjusting for the seasons. It’s a wonderful process of adding, subtracting, expanding, based on experience & growth.

Maneli’s musical stories are based on his extraordinary life experiences. During performances he offers listeners insight how he communicates these stories in his work, enhancing their experience. His unique ability to articulate may be attributed to his deep emotional connection to his craft, and confidence sharing it in raw truthful form with the world.

His music feels both deeply private, and universally connected.

We spoke about the evolution of creativity when he visited the studio last year, discussing similarities in process, and importance of emotional connection in our work.

Viewers often believe a painting is complete in the artists mind, it’s just a matter of ‘getting it out’ one reader suggested. In truth, the painting begins as a deeply emotional experience. The emotional content is then explored in light, colour, contrast, composition later in the studio. A painting is built, grown and matured rather than “popping out of one’s head”.

Readers wonder if painting ideas emerge when I am active outdoors, on my bike or running. It’s a little like asking if one makes their grocery list while meditating.

Sport frees my mind from clutter, allowing me to immerse in the landscape. Physical engagement deepens emotional connection in nature.

Think if it as fertile ground for the garden to grow.



Despite being a star of his magnitude, Maneli is deeply humble and thoughtfully soft spoken. He is gracious in every way, with maturity beyond his years. If you have the opportunity to experience his live performances, you cannot help but be completely transformed. His music resonates, lighting a place deep within the soul.

Maneli’s Website ( with Tour schedule & videos)

Maneli is performing in Toronto this weekend at Jazz Festival.




(Click on highlighted text for further reading.)

The new blockbuster “Wonder Woman” features incredible images of superhuman abilities.

Creativity, in reality, is one of our amazing superpowers.

Science is proving brains function at a higher level under the influence of art, for both non- creative & creative folk. (Read about benefits of the arts here and here.)

It’s such cool stuff, yet why is fine art considered a luxury item, when science is proving it fuels human development and health?

It’s common knowledge the arts offer emotional connection and new perspectives. In fact, the benefits go well beyond these initial findings.

Creativity itself is woven into nearly every aspect of human existence.

I spoke about the interweaving theory in my presentation “Creativity is our Superpower” at a local school.

“Think of art as cross training,” I said.

Creative tasks can improve math ability, academia function and communication skills. Observational and visualization skills are necessary in sports, communication, science, crime investigation, entertainment fields, and medicine. Technology, innovation, architecture, conservation require artistic influence. Creative vision is found in all design, from running shoes, cars or green energy.

Skills taught in art class are highly transferable. MacGyver likely excelled in art class.

When Peter Mansbridge Wayne Gretzky his views on modern hockey, creativity was the forefront of his response.

“We have lost playing on the pond…using your creativity and using your imagination…It’s become more robotic.”

He makes a worthy point. Creative play & imagination are important for development.

Encouraging creativity in children, infusing their environment with art, we equip them with tools for a better life and better world. Independent creative play allows exploration, adaptability and valuable cognitive function.

Adults, beef up your creative muscle, you boost your brain & well being.

Recognizing the value of the arts we reap benefits from the diverse wealth they offer. Erase barriers that keep us from living a connected creative life.

Embrace the wonders of art and unleash our superpower.


Seeking ways to improve your creativity? Check out my Free Ebook online.


All new work is in various stages of progress, the studio is a beehive of activity!

Anchor Coffee House Walkerville location in Windsor, ON is due to open this week! Enjoy a wonderful cup of coffee, or lemonade with homemade baked goods. You may select a seat with a forest view. :0) “Forest” on display and avail for purchase.

“Sunset Pine” 14 x18 oil on canvas  825$ CAD

“Sunlit Forest” 9×12 oil on canvas 480$

“Pine” 24×36 oil on canvas ( sky is lighter as of this week). 2170$

The Passion Purchase

How did a postal worker and librarian amass one of the largest and most priceless collections of art ever?

The story of Herb and Dorothy Vogel is a hot media topic and sparks investor inquiries. With modest salaries, (Herb’s annual income was 23,000) living in an 850 sq foot NY apartment, their collection worth millions was eventually deemed ‘priceless’.

 So, how did they do it?

Why should you care?

How to buy original art is the most common questions buyers like you ask. With the avenues to purchase original art expanding, from galleries, individual artist websites, art fairs, artist co-op’s, and private dealers, it can be a sea of confusion.

How did Herb and Dorothy do it? An International appraiser’s advice mirrors their actions. “Buy what you love. Art should be a passion purchase.”

“The Vogels only bought work they loved, whether the artist was known or not.”

Herb and Dorothy weren’t art specialists or critics. They never acted under the advisement of a dealer.

They collected with delightful passion. In fact, meeting the artists was an integral part of their process.

 “They communed with artists in the Greenwich Village art scene and never purchased art without a studio or personal visit with the artist, seeking out the artist’s input in an attempt to understand the process behind the works they were both drawn to.

To gain confidence buying what you love, think of the music you collect. It’s unlikely you asked for approval before buying concert tickets and CD collection. You were moved by the music and it enriches your life. Art is the same.

People’s eclectic collections aren’t so strange, what is odd, is that more people don’t buy original work.

Helpful considerations when purchasing original art:

  • Are you emotionally connected (joyful, intrigued, etc)?
  • Does the work show mature brushstrokes and colour palette? Does the artist express commitment to their work? ( ie: a legacy of exhibitions/established website, clear information) Is the artist emotionally connected to their work?
  • Are the persons exhibiting the work (dealer or artist) enthused or bothered?
  • Is the dealer informed on genre/ medium/ info on art & artist beyond the typical? Providing background knowledge of both artist & art expresses interest and commitment to their artist roster.
  •  Is there a documented history when you google the artist/ gallery? Testimonials? An added thought, see if they engage & contribute to their community/ charities.

These considerations will help you to establish value in the work.

Original art tends to recycle, and continue. It’s usually gifted, inherited, auctioned or resold, instead of filling up dumpsters.

Last year news broke that famous works of art were being manipulated overseas, mass printed and sold in big box stores. That print may not be Monet’s but an illegal knock off. In discussion of value, this is a relevant thought to consider. Conscious consumerism is expanding beyond the initial farm to table concept. We have the power and resources to collect wisely, considering, art, artist, venue, ethics and the environment.

Art matters. Herb and Dorothy knew that. They lived their passion, were enriched for it, and in the end, shared it with the world, gifting their entire collection. You can just feel the love.


New work ~ “Evening Light” –  ( barn) 18×36 oil on birch board ~ $2000.00 CAD